What is Legendary Heroes?
It's an expansion for Fallen Enchantress that adds the following:
1. A new Champion progression system. Instead of random traits your champions have a trait tree that they can use to select traits as they level up, grow your champions the way you want.
2. The ability to recruit special non-human champions. Champions aren't just humans anymore. Rare opportunities or quests may unlock champions of various monster races that can choose traits and use equipment.
3. New tactical combat options. Swarm gives a bonus for every ally that surrounds the enemy you are attacking. Be careful where you stand as even weak creatures can become dangerous in groups (especially those with traits that improve their Swarm bonus). Weapons all have special abilities and every faction has a special ability they can use in combat so even lowly spearmen have 2 special abilities they can use in addition to their normal move and attack options.
4. New monster types like the Banshee who is immune to physical weapons, or the Garagox who knocks enemies back with each hit (which makes it difficult to get swarm bonuses and control the battlefield).
5. New spells and abilities. New range types have been added that allow for adjacent and line spells and abilities. Use Wall of Fire in tactical to create a line, 7 tiles long, to block allies from enemy units. Master necromancy to summon up to nine different skeleton units at once with the Raise Skeletal Horde spell. Use Resoln's Wraith Touch to drain life from a nearby enemy or Altar's Rush ability to forfeit their attack to get an extra action.
6. A new scenario. Relias has returned to warn the kingdoms of what he discovered in the East, but there is little time left. The war has begun.
Who gets Legendary Heroes for free?
If you purchased War of Magic before 10/31/2010 then you will be receiving Legendary Heroes for free. If you will be receiving Legendary Heroes for free you will receive an email from Stardock when the beta starts.
How much does Legendary Heroes cost?
If you own Fallen Enchantress then Legendary Heroes will cost $19.99. If you don't own Fallen Enchantress it will cost $39.99.
Can I get Legendary Heroes on Steam?
Legendary Heroes is integrated with Steam. So everyone that gets it will have it on Steam, no matter where they purchase it from (even if they purchase directly from Stardock). Those players that will be receiving free copies will be receiving a steam key for the game.
How has the champion system changed?
The biggest change is in how you gain champions. They are no longer waiting on the map. Although I liked having them on the map to encourage players to explore, it made the champion part of the game to random. It also disconnected the champion game from the core game (empire building), creating two separate games that were only loosely connected to each other.
In Legendary Heroes players have a new Fame attribute. Fame is gained by building certain improvements (though you can also get it from researching some techs and completing quests). Completing the Tower of Dominion provides enough Fame to get your first Champion. When you gain enough Fame 2 champions will present themselves to you for recruitment, but you can only pick one. All the champions have been redone to make these decisions more distinct and interesting.
With this new system the amount of Champions you have access to depends on your empire choices, what techs you researched and what improvements you built. Not on map generation.
Champions can still be gained through quests, though these tend to be special cases.
There are also a lot of new champion traits that can be learned. Some that grant access to new spells and abilities, some that improve existing abilities. For example all axes give access to the Cleave ability, which allows the unit to strike 3 adjacent enemies that are next to each other. A champion trait increase the amount of damage done when Cleaving. Others increase damage with fire spells, or the amount of healing done when casting a Heal spell. Traits can reduce casting times or increase the amount of accessories a champion can equip.
Monster champions? Does that mean I can give a bear an axe and enchanted pants?
Each of the monster champions is special, such as Huhrus the Ogre. You can get him through a quest in both FE and LH. But in LH he is a champion with the ability to pick traits when he levels (he starts with path of the warrior) and you can give him whatever weapons and accessories you would like. Since he is an Ogre he gets all their benefits including having more hit points than a normal champion. But he cannot wear normal armor, so there are pros and cons.
Have the graphics changed?
The graphics of the game have gone through considerable updates. Redone forests, new rivers, new mountains, dynamic shadows, lower bloom, less terrain blending, improved lighting, better animations, etc. Ground props have been dramatically reduced and overall the effect is to make the game cleaner and clearer. It is easier to tell what a specific tile is and which tiles have special things on them.
Legendary Heroes has a new Art Lead, Kay Fedewa. It is her first time working as a lead on a game and she has done amazing work making everything look both better and more distinct (often opposite goals).
Designer Note: The big lesson for me was that art, much like game design, isn't about one big change or fix. It's a culmination of a lot of little things working together. It's the entire scene. Small things that wouldn't be noticed add up. Where a player may notice that Legendary heroes has new mountains, those mountains are actually a half dozen changes all working together, none of which would be that significant on their own.
Are there more changes?
Lots of more minor tweaks and improvements. There is a new game option slider for production pace (so you can modify it seperatly than research pace). Screens have been added (an army screen for managing multiple stacks in one tile) or improved. The battles result screen animates your xp bar and dings when a unit hits a level as well as showing any results of injuries or death so we don't need additional popups for it.
When you adjust the world difficulty it will change the levels monsters spawn at instead of just their hit points. Turn it down to get weaker monsters and up to be facing level 8 bears and worse.
Since you don't have your "free champion" starting by you players start with their sovereign and a group of spearmen and club wielding militia. In general this makes starting sovereigns a bit more powerful but it does a great job of showing off the new weapons abilities (since the spearmen and militia have different abilities) and it gets the player used to using armies. He can start fighting with his starting units and by the time they die be ready to get some new ones trained.
We have also added a feature based on player feedback. The ability to set a city to producing a resource (like additional gold), instead of just having the cities get a bonus when the queue was empty. This is a more intuitive option for the player and works better for game play since we can seperate idle cities from those that have been intentionally to produce more of a resource.
There are more, new items, new weapons, new armor, new quests, etc.
Does the addition of these new mechanics make the game more complex?
Our goal is to take FE to the next level with the expansion. To make it into a better game, not a bigger game. So things that were confusing or overly complex were cut. For example finding champions in the wilderness can be confusing for new players, the new system is both better designed and more intuitive.
I've also removed cutting/blunt/pierce damage. The goal of those damage types was to make the weapons different from each other. To make an axe different than a hammer. But the majority of players ignored or were unaware of the differences and were left feeling like battles were less strategic because the defense strengths or weaknesses didn't impact their strategy.
Now the weapons have special abilities. Spears have Impale, which strikes an enemy and the unit behind them. Axes have Cleave, which can strike 3 units that are all adjacent to the attacker. Crossbows have been added to the game and they are powerful short range weapons, they strike through 5 enemy units in a line. Even shields give a Shield Bash ability which does the units normal attack damage and can knock the victim back a tile (which is good for controlling swarm bonuses from your units and your opponents). Because of these abilities, different weapons feel very different from each other and we no longer needed the stat differences that damage types offered. In other words, stats differences are okay differentiators, game play differences are better.
I've also cut Influence and Faction Prestige. Influence fell victim to the go big or go home rule. It just wasn't important enough to feel like its own thing. Removing it makes gold more important for diplomacy. Faction Prestige is being replaced by a Unrest penalty based on the amount of cities in your empire. The more cities you have the higher your unrest is. This makes anti-unrest effects more critical as your empire grows and does a better job of balancing large vs small empires since it directly reduces production and research rather than just growth (as faction prestige did).
Part of removing Faction Prestige was the change to have the amount of unused food a city has available impact growth. So now when you see a tile with high grain yields it isn't just a higher size that the city can grow to, but the speed at which it will reach that size.